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11/6/2019 | Protecting Immigrant Communities, Immigrant Rights - Creating Deportation Defense

CASA is Leading the Fight for Immigrant Justice

Since the election of Donald Trump, immigrant communities have come under repeated attacks across the country. After a series of executive orders aimed at restricting legal immigration and expanding deportations, the announcement that the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program–– which provided  temporary relief for over 800,000 immigrant youth––would be discontinued, came as a major blow on September 5, 2017. It was followed in quick succession by announcements of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) cancellation of effectively rescinding temporary legal status given to over 200,000 people from specific countries in central america, africa, and the carribean after natural disasters - some of them for more than 20 years. Over one million immigrants could stand to lose hard fought temporary legal status and work authorization in this country. 

On top of this, the Trump administration attempted to further drive immigrants into the shadows by threatening to include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census, threatening to restrict access to legal immigration for those working class families who might be deemed a "public charge," and funnelled money into private prison industries by scaling up detention for families, children, recent border crossers, and anyone else possible.  

At CASA, these repeated attacks were devastating to their membership of 100,000 ––the vast majority of them first generation immigrants. But CASA members are resilient by nature and fought back, returning to the nation’s capital over a dozen times in 2017 to rally, march, and protest. They fought back at the ballot box, registering thousands of voters in 2018 and mobilizing Latinx voters across their locale. And they fought back in the courts, filing five lawsuits against the Trump administration. 

Leading the marches and suing in court were powerful working class immigrants. CASA members like Maya Ledezma; a leadership council member, Mexican immigrant, and small business-owner from Riverdale, MD who was deposed in CASA's lawsuit against the administration for pushing the citizenship question on the census. On June 27, 2019 the Supreme Court decided not to erase millions of immigrants across the country in the upcoming 2020 census––a major victory for Maya, CASA, and millions of other immigrants across the country. 

Misael Garcia, a longtime CASA member, DACA holder and teaching assistant in Baltimore, MD, had just become a new dad weeks before the program was cancelled and decided to join CASA's lawsuit against the Trump Administration to preserve DACA. He was thrilled to be seated in the gallery at the House of Representatives when legislation was passed that would provide a permanent path to citizenship for millions of DACA holders like him.

Now, without a senate vote, TPS and DACA continue to hang in the balance, and federal courts will make important decisions in the next few months. The 9th circuit is expected to rule this fall on the fate of TPS, and the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the termination of DACA in November. Learn more and join CASA in their work here!